Ford has been banking on China to help revive sales of Lincoln and made plans to start building models in late 2019. But the on-going trade war between the U.S. and China has caused the company to reconsider their plans.
“What we want to do is accelerate that. We will look for opportunities, but it’s a big undertaking and I think it won’t be a significant change in our plans,” said Joy Falotico, head of Lincoln and Ford’s chief marketing officer to Bloomberg.
Currently, Lincoln doesn't have any local production in China. Instead, the brand has been importing vehicles from the U.S. which has meant getting hit with a 40 percent tariff by the Chinese government. This has caused sales of Lincoln vehicles to slow to a crawl. Last year, Lincoln sales rose 66 percent in China. But in October, sales are up just 3 percent.
Ford is trying to move the timing of Lincoln production to sometime before late 2019. According to Falotico, moving the timing slightly would be a big help. The first model that would be part of this plan is the recently introduced Aviator.
Also under consideration is Lincoln plans to export some Chinese-built models to the U.S. Falotico said the brand would likely build the same models in both countries.
Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required)